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Cancer, Breast Cancer Awareness, and Early Detection Issues

breast cancer awareness ribbonCancer of any type is a horrible disease and the statistics tell us that it affects 1 in 3 people. What does that mean? If 24 people read this article in the next hour, 6 of you will have or know someone close to you with the disease.

I lost my own father at the age of 55 to a tumor on his stomach that was treated by doctors as an ulcer until the cancer had already spread and it was too late to do anything for him. The cancer had by then, spread to his liver and became inoperable which only left the usual choices of chemotherapy or do nothing and hope for the best few months you can before it ravages your body. And cancer does exactly that! It is vicious and knows no bounds and for all intents and purposes, is incurable except for the lucky few that find it early enough and can have it removed or treated. Even with today's advancements, little is known as to what causes it and how to stop it. My father chose chemotherapy and it still destroyed him and I must say the chemo was much harder on him than the stomach and liver cancer might have been. Again, it's all choices that have to be made and only you can make it.

My wife lost her father at the age of 65 to lung cancer. Six to eight months prior to being diagnosed with small cell carcinoma, a small shadow was noticed on an x-ray but like often happens it was dismissed without any serious investigation. By the time they diagnosed it, it was too late once again. Even if diagnosed earlier, he may not have survived it, but we'll never know for sure. It's like suffocating alive and a very painful way to die. Don't smoke! I quit after 30 years, which may have already been too long but it at least lowered my chances of getting the disease, not to mention all the good it did my heart and arteries along the way. Quit now, I urge you. You can read on my main site my own story with battling that addiction here.

My wife's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 years ago. She had a mastectomy done and currently is now a cancer survivor. Hers was detected very early and the prognosis is good that she will live out the rest of her days in good health. Again early detection of breast cancer is essential to improve you chances of being treated and surviving the disease.  When her cancer was discovered, there were signs of precancerous cells and a local lumpectomy would have been sufficient in most cases.  She decided that she didn't want to take the chance and went with the full mastectomy.  This would be considered radical to some and just right to others.  Again this is one of those times when it's your choice to make and no one can really tell you what the right choice for you is.  The location of her lump was in the left breast near her chest cavity wall.  She is taking an anti-cancer drug and will for her remaining years to help prevent the recurrence of the cancer.  No one knows what the causes of these cancers are or why certain people are more susceptible than others but hopefully the day will come that we find the cure for this and all cancerous diseases.  Breast cancer chemotherapy is common, especially following your surgery and breast cancer reconstruction is also an option that many women choose following surgery.  Breast reconstruction should not be taken lightly and is not a simple procedure especially if you had a radical mastectomy.  My mother-in-law opted for the natural reconstruction using her own belly fat and tissue to perform the reconstruction.  When enough skin is left, standard reconstruction using prosthetics (silicon or water) are also common.  Again, you will have to make the choices that best suit you.

Recently my wife's mammogram showed an anomaly which prompted them do an ultra sound of her breast and they found a very small nodule or lump in her breast which she will have removed. We are very hopeful and putting our faith in God that it's nothing more than a benign lump that will need no further treatment. 

breast cancer awareness ribbonOnce again, early detection and treatment is the key here and we are sure, even if against all odds (better than 85% chance it will be non-cancerous or benign) it turned out to be malignant that no further treatment would be needed. I can't express strongly enough the need for early detection. It could make the difference between spending the rest of your life with a loved one or "not". I have had a tough time dealing with this discovery, but in the end I know she's making the right decision to have this lump removed even being as small as it is. Get yourself checked before it too late. Be a survivor!  Don't let denial kill you before nothing can be done.

 

Written by: WM8C, June 25th, 2006.  Not for use without written permission
 

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